Kurdish ruling parties escalate violence against protesters

Submitted by AWL on 22 April, 2011 - 2:08

An appeal from Worker communist Party of Kurdistan/Abroad Committee.

Two militia ruling parties are escalating the violence against civilians in Kurdistan!

Since yesterday militia forces from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) violently have been attacking demonstrators in the city of Sulaymaniyah and the other districts nearby. Shots were fired into the crowd in ‘Freedom Square’ in the centre of the city. Tear gas, stones and batons were used against the people every where. They then occupied the Freedom Square and burnt demonstrators’ tents. More than 100 people were injured; some are believed to be in a critical condition. In Erbil, students from Salahaddin University and others in the centre of the capital were attacked by the other ruling party the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and many were kidnapped. The militias and security forces of the two ruling parties are searching houses and have set up check points on the streets of Sulaimanyah to arrest political activists, demonstrators and journalists who have covered the events! More than 200 people have been arrested so far.

The PUK and KDP have now mobilised their militia forces which today continued to attack demonstrators in cities across Kurdistan. After yesterday’s attack, students at Sulimaniyah University attempted to demonstrate, but armed groups stormed the university injuring many. In the University of (Koya), KDP’s security forces have arrested many students. The two militia ruling parties have decided to end up the uprising and demonstration in Kurdistan by using excessive force.

Since the start of the uprising 9 people have been killed and hundreds injured. For more than 60 days demonstrations have been taking place across Iraqi Kurdistan. Inspired by the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, people first came onto the streets of Sulaymaniyah, the second biggest city in Iraqi Kurdistan, on the 17th of February. They demanded freedom, dignity, social justice, basic services and an end to political corruption.

We condemn this repression of demonstrations and turning the cities into military camps. We demand that the militia forces are withdrawn and that violence against demonstrators stops. We call for the immediate release of all those arrested or kidnapped for their part in the demonstrations. We call for the criminals to be brought to justice. Finally, we support the demands of the people.

We ask the international community to support people in Kurdistan. Please write to your governments ask them to condemn the PUK and KDP for killing and arresting protestors and to pressure them to stop shooting and arresting people immediately, to bring those responsible for the shooting of protestors and those who ordered the shootings to justice. In addition, we ask you to support the demands of the protestors for an end to political corruption, for decent work and public services such as water and electricity, and for political freedom, including freedom of assembly, speech and thought.

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